Why do most Nearshore providers treat marketing as a one-off event they do whenever their pipeline is empty? To survive and thrive, you’ve got to treat marketing as a process. You have an accounting or payroll process, and if you’re a software development company you probably have a specialized development process like agile or scrum. As a recent McKinsey article stated: marketing is the company.
Following are the seven steps to marketing success you should implement as a Nearshore marketing process, adapted from John Jantsch’s 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success.
1. Narrow Your Focus
Just like the allies stormed the beaches at Normandy and established a secure beachhead from which to launch their European operations against the Germans, you too should establish a beachhead by focusing on a narrowly defined market segment.
This comes in two parts:
- Focus on your ideal customer
Who are your most profitable customers? Who are your happiest customers? Who are the customers that stick with you through thick and thin? Who are the customers that refer you to other customers? Identify them and create an “ideal customer profile,” then make a concerted effort to go after only these types of prospects.
- Define your remarkable difference
You’re remarkable difference is not that you’re “A Certified Microsoft Gold Development Partner” or you provide excellent service. Everybody says that.
Instead, ask your customers what they think is different about you. Why did they choose you? Why do they stay with you?
What difference can you invent? Do you have a special process that you can brand with a distinct name? Can you invent a five point post-development quality-check that none of your competitors currently offer?
2. Fill the Marketing Hourglass
The marketing hourglass turns the traditional sales funnel on its head. Instead of dumping a bunch of sales leads at the top of the funnel and getting your sales people to work them through to the bottom, think instead about how customers actually make buying decisions.
Your customers have to:
- Know you
- Like you
- Trust you, and then
- Try your product
- Buy the product
- Repeat purchase and;
- Refer you to others
Each step of the marketing hourglass has it’s own set of tactics, and you can’t rush any of the stages.
For example, you might get people to know you by publishing compelling blog posts about a topic that is of concern to your prospects. Then you might invite them to a webinar on “How company XXX achieved success outsourcing their software development to Mexico.” They’re getting to like you now.
Your prospect might attend a webinar where you introduce a satisfied customer. They start to trust you now.
Get the picture?
3. Publish Educational Content
Educational content is the opposite of promotional content. Publish blog posts, videos, white papers, eBooks, or hold webinars, seminars and talks that provide information that is inherently valuable to your customers.
Michael Stelzner, in his new book Launch – How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, talks about how educational content is the “fuel” to move your marketing machine forward.
The point is to attract your prospects by giving them a reward when they invest their valuable time with you. That reward is valuable advice, tips, tricks and industry research.
4. Create a Total Web Presence
In this day and age this shouldn’t even be an issue, but there are still some companies that leave their web presence as an after-thought.
Most buyers start their purchase path by searching on Google. They might find your website, or they might land on Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, Google Places, or any number of web properties.
If you haven’t optimized your website with educational content, or claimed your real estate on all the free social media sites available to you, then you’re throwing away a huge opportunity to attract customers to you.
5. Use a Lead Generation Trio
In case you think I’m only advocating the slow boat to China to attracting customers, there’s still room for lead generation activities, or rather, a trio of lead generation tactics.
There’s paid promotion, such as Google Adwords. Only do this with a twist: offer them a free report in exchange for their e-mail address. Then you can continue to market to them.
There’s public and community relations, such as online press releases, public speaking, and relationships with the media.
Finally, implement a referral system. This is such a vast topic it requires it’s own article
6. Make Selling a System
Now that you’re implementing a marketing system, don’t leave your selling up to chance. Put together a systematized process for selling too.
Do you have a free trial? Do you have a starter offering? Do you have a “make it easy to switch” offering? Do you have a “customers only” offering?
7. Live by the Calendar
Marketing is not difficult, but it is complicated. Marketing can’t be a system until you have a way to organize and track your marketing.
I know there are skeptics among you who say, “we’re not a marketing company, we’re a sales-oriented company.”
I believe this so much that I will tell this to you emphatically: you’ve got to implement a marketing system, because if you’re not moving forward you’re getting left behind.
As General Erik Shinseki, ex-U.S. Army Chief of Staff said: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”